Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd
Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd have captivated audiences with their sinister charm as fictional characters in both the James Bond novel and film, Diamonds Are Forever (1971). These cunning henchmen are associated with The Spangled Mob in the literary world, while their allegiance lies with the infamous villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the cinematic adaptation.
Distinguished by their sinister banter and sharp wit, Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd take pride in exchanging clever quips after successfully killing their targets. In the film version, the talented Bruce Glover brings Mr. Wint to life, while the versatile jazz musician Putter Smith steps into a rare acting role to portray Mr. Kidd, together creating a memorable and menacing partnership.
In this bio post we’ll take a look at the inseparable characters in both the literary and cinematic versions, and also take a look at the biographies of the two actors to have played the most infamous duo in Bond history
Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd Literary Version
In the novel, Mr Wint and Mr Kidd serve as ruthless enforcers and killers for the Spangled Mob, responsible for ensuring the seamless smuggling of diamonds and maintaining order within the operation.
When faced with any disruptions, the duo is called upon to “persuade” wrongdoers against making the same mistake again. They derive sadistic pleasure from their brutal acts, exemplified by an instance in which they subject a jockey to scalding mud for interfering with a Mob-owned horse’s race.
Though both are seasoned assassins, Mr. Wint suffers from a pathological fear of traveling, and to cope with it he wears an identifying name tag and a sticker displaying his blood group. This phobia earns him the nickname “Windy,” although none dare utter it to his face. Meanwhile, Mr. Kidd’s good looks earn him the nickname “Boofy.”
Felix Leiter suspects both men are homosexual. And Mr. Wint’s distinctive red wart on his thumb allows Leiter to confirm his involvement in the diamond smuggling operation when Bond mentions it.
In a ghost town near Las Vegas, mob leader Seraffimo Spang orders Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd to torture Bond for his true identity. They subject Bond to a brutal “Brooklyn stomping” with football cleats, leaving him unconscious before smuggler Tiffany Case aids his escape.
Later, when the duo kidnaps Tiffany aboard the Queen Elizabeth, Bond heroically rescues her by scaling the ship’s side and entering her cabin through a porthole. A fight ensues, culminating in Bond shooting both the deadly assassins. To avoid suspicion, Bond stages the scene as a murder-suicide.
The Film Version
The film version of Mr. Wint and his partner, Mr. Kidd, they’re depicted as American assassins working under the command of Ernst Stavro Blofeld (played by Charles Gray), though they never share any on-screen interactions with him.
Their mission is to dismantle Blofeld’s pipeline, which has been funnelling diamonds to him for nearly two years. Blofeld uses these diamonds to build a powerful laser satellite. With the satellite nearing completion and both the CIA and MI6 investigations drawing unwanted attention to Blofeld’s activities, the smuggling pipeline must be eradicated to cover his tracks.
Mr Wint and Mr Kidd are assigned to eliminate anyone who comes into contact with the diamonds once they have completed their part in the smuggling operation. They follow the final shipment of diamonds through the pipeline, which extends from South Africa to the United States via the Netherlands.
The deadly duo derives sadistic pleasure from their work. For instance, Mr. Wint takes delight in Mr. Kidd’s photographing of the elderly Mrs. Whistler’s body after they have drowned her in the canals of Amsterdam. And they joke about sending the pictures to the primary-age children she taught.
This exemplifies the morbid sense of humour they share, often completing each other’s sentences in a playful manner and revelling in dark, pun-laden jokes. Their attempt to burn James Bond alive in a crematorium is referred to as “a glowing tribute” and “heart-warming.”
They also derive amusement from twisting proverbs, such as when they blow up a helicopter in flight, and Mr. Kidd starts the old saying, “If God had wanted man to fly…” to which Mr. Wint says: “He would have given him wings, Mr. Kidd”. And another with Mr. Wint saying “If at first you don’t succeed, Mr. Kidd”, followed by Mr. Kidd’s reply, “Try, try again, Mr. Wint.”
Despite their close partnership, they never address each other by their first names, opting for the more formal and courteous title of “mister.”
The film strongly implies that the two are homosexual, as evidenced by a scene where they hold hands, Mr. Wint’s habit of wearing women’s perfume, and an exchange in which Mr. Kidd remarks on Tiffany Case’s (portrayed by Jill St. John) attractiveness, “…for a lady,” prompting a jealous glance from Mr. Wint.
In a final attempt to assassinate Bond and Case, Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd infiltrate the SS Canberra cruise liner, where the pair are staying after Bond has foiled Blofeld’s scheme. Posing as waiters in Bond and Case’s suite, the devious duo serves them a romantic dinner, with a concealed bomb, under the guise of a courtesy from Willard Whyte.
However, when Mr. Wint opens a wine bottle and offers the cork for Bond to smell, Bond recognizes the scent of Mr. Wint’s cologne from their previous encounter, and quickly realizes something is amiss.
Bond then casually mentions his expectation of a claret to accompany such a grand dinner, to which Mr. Wint replies that the ship’s cellars lack a decent selection of clarets. Bond exposes Mr. Wint’s lack of knowledge, stating that Mouton Rothschild is, in fact, a claret, before remarking, “I’ve smelt that aftershave before, and both times I’ve smelt a rat.”
With their cover blown, Mr Wint and Mr Kidd attack Bond. Mr. Kidd attempts to impale Bond with flaming shashlik skewers, while Mr. Wint tries to strangle him with the chain of his sommelier’s tastevin.
During the skirmish, Bond neutralizes Mr. Kidd by splashing Courvoisier on him and the burning skewers, setting the assailant ablaze. Engulfed in flames, Mr. Kidd desperately leaps overboard into the ocean. Meanwhile, Tiffany Case throws the dessert at Mr. Wint, but misses, inadvertently revealing the concealed bomb.
Bond gains the upper hand against Mr. Wint, pulling the villain’s coat-tails between his legs and tying his hands and the bomb together. Bond then hurls Mr. Wint overboard, and the bomb detonates mid-air, killing him before he hits the water.
Bruce Glover as Mr. Wint
Born on May 2, 1932, in Chicago, Illinois, Bruce Herbert Glover is a celebrated American character actor, most notably recognized for his role as one half of the henchman duo, Mr. Wint, alongside Putter Smith’s Mr. Kidd, in the 1971 James Bond movie, Diamonds are Forever.
His early acting journey include uncredited appearances in TV shows like Blindfold (1965), Sweet Love, Bitter (1967), and The Thomas Crown Affair (1968). He earned his first credit in Dayton’s Devils (1968), followed by roles in C.C. and Company (1970), Bless the Beasts and Children (1971), and Scandalous John in the same year.
However, it was his portrayal of the assassin Mr. Wint in Bond 7 that catapulted him to fame. Glover demonstrated his acting versatility by playing a wide range of characters, from a motorcycle gang leader in Adam-12 to a Soviet military officer in The Six Million Dollar Man. He also left an indelible mark on the film industry through memorable roles in Chinatown, Walking Tall and its sequels, and Ghost World.
Later appearances include films such as Night of the Scarecrow, Die Hard Dracula, and Sacammerhead. As the proud father of Crispin Glover, the star of the Back to the Future movies, Bruce Glover’s legacy extends beyond his own illustrious career.
Putter Smith as Mr. Kidd
Putter Smith, born on January 19, 1941, is a bassist and actor best known for his captivating role as the sinister henchman Mr. Kidd in the Bond film Diamonds Are Forever.
At a young age, Smith discovered his passion for the bass, inspired by his older brother, jazz musician Carson Smith. He made his performing debut at just 13 years old at the Compton Community Center and went on to share the stage with some of the most prominent names in jazz, such as Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Ray Charles, and Gerry Mulligan.
Not only a performer, Smith is also a highly sought-after session musician, contributing his talents to recordings by legendary artists like Beck, The Beach Boys, and The Righteous Brothers. As a music teacher at the Musician’s Institute and California Institute of the Arts, he has shared his extensive knowledge with aspiring students.
Smith’s talents, however, extend beyond music. He was discovered by Bond producer Harry Saltzman during a Thelonious Monk concert, leading to his casting as one half of the menacing assassin duo, Mr. Kidd, alongside Mr. Wint.
This role launched his acting career, and he went on to appear in films such as Win, Place or Steal and In the Mood. Despite his success on the big screen, Smith’s passion for music never waned, and he continues to perform whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd – A Most Deadly Duo
Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd stand as one of the most memorable and sinister henchmen duos in the James Bond franchise. Their sadistic pleasure in executing their targets, coupled with their twisted sense of humour, has left an indelible mark on the minds of viewers.
Portrayed by the talented Bruce Glover and Putter Smith, these characters serve as a testament to the creative and engaging storytelling of the Bond series. And as we look back on the legacy of Diamonds Are Forever, the chilling performances of Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd is certainly one of the stand out features of the film and novel.